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Sudan: UN condemns escalation of violence in El Fasher in Darfur

The U.N. Human Rights chief Volker Turk expressed horror at the escalating violence situation in Sudan’s El Fasher in Darfur where hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces are severely impacting civilians.

“At least 58 civilians are reported to have been killed and 213 others injured in El Fasher since fighting dramatically escalated last week, and these figures are certainly an underestimate,” Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told a news briefing in Geneva.

Shamdasani said Turk had held phone conversations with both sides and had urged them to put aside entrenched positions and take specific, concrete steps to cease hostilities and to ensure the effective protection of civilians.

“We warned both commanders that fighting in El Fasher, where more than 1.8 million residents and internally displaced people are currently encircled and at imminent risk of famine, would have a catastrophic impact on civilians, and it would deepen intercommunal conflict with disastrous humanitarian consequences.”
On Wednesday, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the top U.N. humanitarian official in the war-ravaged country, told a U.N. news conference that hostilities in El Fasher have been escalating and clashes over the weekend and early this week caused dozens of casualties and displaced many more of the 800,000 people still in the city.

She said the Sudanese people were trapped in a situation of brutal violence with famine, disease and fighting closing in and no end in sight.

Earlier this month, the U.N. food agency warned Sudan’s warring parties that there is a serious risk of widespread starvation and death in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan if they don’t allow humanitarian aid into the vast western region.
Sudan plunged into conflict in mid-April 2023, when long-simmering tensions between its military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, broke out into street battles in the capital, Khartoum.

Fighting has spread to other parts of the country, especially urban areas and the vast western Darfur region, and the U.N. says over 14,000 people have been killed and 33,000 injured.

The paramilitary forces, known as the RSF, have gained control of most of Darfur and are besieging the key city of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and the only capital they don’t hold.

On April 15, donors pledged $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Sudan, but Nkweta-Salami said the U.N.’s $2.7 billion humanitarian appeal — to help nearly 15 million of the country’s 58 million people — is just 12% funded.

Africanews

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